Top-ranked Jon Rahm, who is among the favorites at this week’s Phoenix Open, says a year-end break refreshed him.
Rahm, who finished in the top eight at all four Majors last year, was runner-up at the Tournament of Champions last month in Hawaii and third two weeks ago at Torrey Pines, where he captured his first Major title last June.
The Spaniard’s two-and-a-half-month break at the end of last year has rejuvenated his game ahead of his start at TPC Scottsdale.
“One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life was taking those two-and-a-half months off,” Rahm said. “I would not be surprised if it’s something I do more often.
“To have some time to just be home and enjoy the time off is great. This is probably one of the reasons why I started playing so well.
“Even though my game did not feel at its best, I feel like I’m refreshed enough. Call it competitive stamina. It’s high enough to where I can actually pull it through and finish strong.
“I’m playing good golf and hopefully, starting this week, things start clicking a little bit better.”
In six prior Phoenix starts, Rahm has not finished outside the top 16. The Spaniard went to college at nearby Arizona State and enjoys great fan support at the often-rowdy event.
“It’s always a week I look forward to,” Rahm said. “I spent a lot of my time in Arizona. I have a lot of support this week. It’s a home week. It’s a special event. It’s an event like any other.
“Hopefully I add a first place this week.”
Even though Rahm says he fights for every place in every event, he accepts that he will only win so often.
“You can not take every week you do not win as a disappointment. If I’m finishing in the top 10, I can not say it’s a bad week, ”Rahm said.
“It all depends on how it happens, but there is always something you can call an achievement. If I do not win, I want to finish as high as possible. It matters to me. That’s probably why my top-10 percent is higher. I’m never going to give up. ”
Rahm had to admit defeat in his Pro-Am practice round on Wednesday when he tried to learn the future plans of playing partner Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers who might consider leaving the club next season.
“I tried to get out of him what he’s going to be doing next year,” Rahm said. “I bothered him a little bit, because it was one more of 3,000 people that asked him on the first few holes.”
Norway’s third-ranked Viktor Hovland says he has not talked about possible rival start-up golf leagues.
“I have not talked too much about that stuff with other players,” he said. “It has been some, but I think right now there is so much unknown.
“We’m kind of still trying to figure this stuff out. I certainly love playing on the PGA Tour. ”
Defending champion Brooks Koepka, who also won at Phoenix in 2015, said he has no interest in departing the PGA Tour for any start-up series.
“It has been pretty clear for a long time now that I’m with the PGA Tour. It’s where I’m staying, ”the four-time Major winner said. “They do things the right way, people I want to do business with.”
© Agence France-Presse